Microsoft’s Surface Team Takes Questions, Talks Up New Tablet On Reddit

Now that Microsoft has officially announced pricing and availability for its long-awaited Surface tablet (albeit a little early), the time has come to get people worked up about it. Of course, commercials and brief tours of the studio that spawned the device can only offer so much insight — now Surface GM Panos Panay and the rest of the team have taken to Reddit and implored users to ask them anything.

The AMA lasted for just over an hour or so (though a few new answers still seem to be trickling in), and the current top-rated question is a real winner: when all is said and done with Windows 8, how much room is left over for users’ stuff? Surface RT Test Manager Ricardo Lopez shot back with the following:

After the OS, OfficeRT and a bunch of apps, you will still have more than 20GB. As you say, you can always add an SD card and while you cannot add apps there, you can get music, movies and photos there.

Another subject the Surface team seemed especially eager to tackle was the device’s Touch Cover. It was designed to be washable, for one thing, (great for unrepentant slobs like myself), and another member of the team was quick to talk up the digitizer that helps run the show:

It senses the impact force of your key presses. We designed super-fast electronics and smart algorithm in the keyboard so that Touch Cover can profile your key press down to a 1ms (1000 times a second). Using that information Touch Cover can infer if the user meant to press the key or not.. It is a smart key. So even though there is no key travel, the user can rest their hands on top of the keyboard and find home position without accidentally triggering keys.. pretty cool!

The team also spoke a bit about the functionality choices that went into play with the Surface — when it came to connectivity, they ultimately decided to leave NFC out of the device (even though Microsoft has strongly encouraged its Windows Phone hardware partners to embrace the technology) because it apparently wouldn’t play nice with the tablet’s handsome VaporMg casing. 3G/4G wireless connectivity was also being considered, but they didn’t see the need to bake the feature into a tablet that 1.) was meant mostly for use “in the home” and 2.) probably wouldn’t be activated with a data connection anyway.

There are plenty of morsels left to sift though in the AMA proper, but here’s the team’s full list of responses in case you want to sort through all the unanswered cruft.